The paperless office. I’ve been waiting for its arrival since the advent of the word processor in the early 1980’s. I so admire those sleek business travelers sitting next to me on the plane with nothing but a tiny iPad or Netbook while I balance my 8 pound laptop and 3 floppy paper files on my knees.
Paper is seductive. There is something satisfyingly concrete about poring over printed financial reports — the paper just waiting for your tiny notations in the margins, so accepting of the bright yellow highlighter poised over its surface.
A reasonable compromise. This year I started scanning my handwritten meeting notes to be saved as digital files. Once inserted in an Excel workbook it’s easy to add notations and even hyperlinks to other files. I can’t seem to make the transition for other documents. As a mobile worker, this is a problem. Five years ago I switched to a briefcase on wheels — which is not unlike a hoarder renting extra storage space instead of dealing with the real problem: too much stuff.
Wednesday is “cold turkey” day. I think I can do this if I take it one day at a time. On Wednesday I will carry no paper. So if you see me lugging my laptop into Starbuck’s, give me a smile and a nod. And hide your paper.